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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

wait mode

Got a note from a friend the other day letting me know that a situation she had hoped to get resolved is still in limbo after all.  "NO-O-O"  I wrote back "I hate when that happens!  Guess we're both in wait mode" referring to my own suspense about when Becky will go into labor with the newest grandchild!   (She was due on Saturday, fyi, and as of this writing has still not gone into official labor)

My friend emailed back "I HATE WAIT MODE!", and I have to laugh.  Don't we all!

Now, don't jump all over me for this, but I have to say something about this wait mode thing we all dislike so much.  I have found it to be a very enlightening place, when I finally stop screwing my eyes shut, and take my fingers out of my ears, and stop yelling "You can't do this to me!" about it.   Right now, there's a yellow light about quite a few things in my life-------the shop remodel, Stu's ability to come home, the new baby.  That's really just scratching the surface.  I could go on and on.   But before Stu had the stroke, back in February, I had an interesting conversation with God about things I don't like on my plate.  (I would consider "wait mode" one of them.  A big mess of brussels sprouts, staring me in the face)  "Lord" I said to him "I really don't like the way this stuff looks.  But you have brought it before me so many times, that I'm starting to think there's something there that you want me to digest.  Ugh.  Whenever I try to pass on it, You seem to bring it back again.  So this time I'm gonna take a bite.  And I can hear You telling me how important it is to chew every bite, and let it nourish me."  Well, friends, I have to tell you that I am very glad I took that bite.  And many more.  As I chewed, I began to see things a little differently.  Maybe a little more the way He looks at things.  And that prepared me for the coming storm.  The Stroke of Genius I've been chewing on since March 26.   I suppose it's another way of saying "Consider it all joy".   As I chew, I find that the most bitter-seeming circumstances become tonics for my soul, I find I can laugh freely and truly rejoice in all things.  God is a pretty good Father, I guess:-)   He knows what we need. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big Fat Miracle

the Lord is my Shepherd, by Stu Mendelson
It's 3:00 a.m.  My sleep has been peaceful tonight until now,  but suddenly I am wide awake and gripped by the hopelessness of my situation.  I am hemmed in by circumstances beyond my control.  Stu is inexplicably losing ground-----no one seems to know exactly what's wrong with him.  He's excruciatingly uncomfortable in his wheelchair lately, driven to distraction by a pain in his tailbone.  But if he doesn't spend time up in his wheelchair, he will lose strength and be at risk for pneumonia.  The regimentation of nursing home life is wearing away at his spirit, but I have no control over the progress of our remodel.  Until the remodel gets done, we cannot bring him home.  My gut feeling is that home is where he will finally be able to relax enough to heal.  No amount of human reasoning, encouragement, challenge, or any other of the usual goads that we use to prod a person to action is effective.  The situation is thickly planted with catch 22's.  There is no human reason to feel any hope at all. 

 So why, in the dead of night, do I have hope?

I see Jesus.

He is here, bright as day.  He knows the outcome of all this, even if He's not telling me what it is right now.  

He knows Stu, knows what he needs, knows when he needs it.  He reminds me that there are times beyond counting when He has showed up when there seemed to be no hope at all and deftly turned the situation on its head, showing everyone with eyes Who's in charge.

I see Jesus.  He is real.  He has power I can't understand.  And I am walking right up to him, confident of his love for me and confessing: Lord, I need a big, fat miracle.  Will you redeem this situation? 

I can hear him saying, a smile in his voice "I thought you'd never ask"


Friday, September 2, 2011


This past Monday, Aug. 29, as I drove up to Laurel Hill at 5:00 pm for my daily visit with Stu, I could hear sirens, and an ambulance pulled up at the same time I did.  One of the nursing home aides was coming out the front door and crooked her finger at me.  "Is it Stu?"  I asked, already knowing.  He had had a seizure of some kind while in the shower and they couldn't find a pulse.  By the time I got into his room, there was already a swarm of very tall-seeming techs working to stabilize him.  I lost count at ten----there were EMT's, firemen, AND police.  Kinda overwhelming.  The questions were coming at me fast and thick----especially "should they do CPR or not?"  Stu and I had agreed after the stroke that, should there be an emergency, we wanted the least intervention-----but Stu was alert enough right now to ask him directly.  "Do you think I could have two or three minutes alone with him?"  I requested.  The head tech didn't skip a beat "Everybody out!" he commanded, and they cleared the room in seconds.  I was very aware that this could be the last few minutes I would spend with him-----I had been told that if they didn't act quickly, his heart rate was so slow that he would die within minutes.  "Stu" I said to him, my hands gently on his chest, "do you want to let go now?  Are you ready"  "No" he said, "I don't think so"  That seemed like a pretty clear directive.  I said a brief prayer for both of us, asking for strength and wisdom, and then I called the posse back in.  Later, at the hospital, the head EMT approached me as I waited in the hallway and smiled in a head-scratching kind of way.  "You know", he said "I've been doing this for about twenty years, and I've never had someone request that.   I wouldn't have thought I'd do it, but it was fine."  I told him I wanted to be confident about the direction we took, and knew that prayer doesn't have to take a long time.  He said "Hey, can I use that in the classes I teach?"  Yup, you sure can:-)

Ultimately we were sent to RVMC to have a pacemaker placed.  The hospital stay turned out to be a blessing in diguise----when I walked into Stu's ICU room, the first thing he said is how much happier he was there!   I think the change of pace (sorry, couldn't resist the pun) was refreshing for him, and during the next two days we got visits from several of our friends from church.   We had been praying during the past week for fellowship for him----it gets a little bleak at the nursing home.  What a funny way for God to answer that prayer.

Pacemaker surgery is a pretty routine procedure, and after watching the videos at the hospital, it made me wonder if Stu hasn't suffered from undetected heart trouble for quite a while.  There is some hope that he will now experience an upsurge in energy.  That would be welcome!

The whole episode was over by Wed. afternoon.  Stu is back at Laurel Hill, the surgery site covered with a telfa pad.  I come away with a deep sense of comfort and connection from my friends in Medford.   They really took care of me and shared the crisis with me.  It was another stitch in our knitting together as a church family.  It all happened so fast, there was no time for me to send out an update, but I am ever grateful for the prayers of those that got Rachel's message on facebook.  

Tomorrow I will write about the exciting remodeling that is happening here!  Stay tuned!